Editor's note: It was previously reported that Ball State had lost 12 consecutive games to Indiana. This story has since been updated as Ball State has lost eight in a row against Indiana.
Ball State (23-13, 7-3 MAC) came into Tuesday’s matchup with Indiana (25-12, 8-2 Big 10) with a perfect 9-0 record against in-state opponents. It was clear after the first inning of the Hoosiers’ 14-3 win they had no intentions of letting that streak get to 10.
After setting the Cardinals down 1-2-3 in the top half, the Hoosiers scored four runs through their first five batters to take command early and chase redshirt senior Brendan Burns out of the game.
Even with sophomore Drey Jameson, junior John Baker and redshirt freshman Chayce McDermott available to pitch, head coach Rich Maloney said there was never a thought about using them in a midweek game.
“There never is. No thought, and there won’t be next week either,” Maloney said. “Those guys are for the weekend. We’re trying to compete for a MAC Championship.”
Indiana kept piling it on, scoring 10 runs in its final four frames to take the lopsided victory. The Hoosiers finished with 12 hits, five of them home runs.
The Cardinals haven’t won a game against the Hoosiers in their last eight matchups, but Maloney said the record over the last few years doesn’t accurately reflect the competitiveness of the series.
The last three times the two teams have met, Indiana has won on a walk-off hit in extra innings. The 14-inning game in 2018 was tied for the Cardinals’ most innings played in a single game.
“They were all great games,” Maloney said. “There’s been many great games in there. They just haven’t gone our way.”
Prior to Tuesday, the Cardinals hadn’t lost by more than five runs since March 4 during the nonconference portion of the schedule. The team is 15-5 since coming back from spring break, and Maloney said games like the one against Indiana are bound to happen.
“In the course of a season, you’re going to have eight games where you get whooped and eight games where you whoop somebody else. That’s baseball,” Maloney said. “This game was one where we got whooped fair and square. We get another shot at them next Tuesday, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Before its second contest with the Hoosiers, Ball State will visit MAC-leading Miami (Ohio) for a three-game series. The Cardinals are two games back of the RedHawks in second place.
“I think we just got to compete every out and play with some great energy,” Maloney said. “We’ve got to battle in each at-bat and just scratch and claw for some runs. Our starters have to pitch like they're capable of. You need your stars to be stars.”
Game one in Oxford, Ohio, is set for Friday at 5 p.m.